From WebOS Internals
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This page is currently available in four languages:

Australia.png USA.png Application:MetaDoctor
France.png Application:MetaDoctor-FR
Germany.png Application:MetaDoctor-DE
Mexico.png Spain.png Application:MetaDoctor-ES

What is the Meta Doctor?

The Webos Internals Meta Doctor is a Makefile which can modify a copy of the Palm webOS Doctor to bypass the "First Use" application and allow the phone to run without having been activated on a cell network. It accomplishes this by reaching into Palm's distributed Doctor JAR file and making changes to it. It can prevent the first use app from running, as well as applying other tweaks to the OS.

Documentation for the features that the MetaDoctor offers is at the top of the Makefile (you find out where that is later).

Step 1: Setting up Meta-Doctor


Windows users can use Cygwin to run the Meta-Doctor.

Simply install Cygwin, and make sure you include the following additional packages:

  1. Python
  2. Make
  3. Patch
  4. Git
  5. Zip
  6. Unzip
  7. wget

(use View "Full" to find these specific packages more easily)

You can download an illustrated installation guide for Cygwin and the appropriate packages from here.

  1. Go to Start>Programs>Cygwin>Cygwin Bash Shell to open a terminal
  2. Now type:
    git clone git://
  3. Download and install the Palm Novacom software from
  4. Navigate to the meta-doctor directory that was created by the git clone command. For example:
    cd meta-doctor
  5. Ensure that there is a downloads directory. If there is not one, create one using
    mkdir downloads


  1. Open terminal from the ( Applications > Accessories ) menu.
  2. If you have git installed, skip this step. If you do not have git installed, type:
    sudo apt-get install git
    and follow the directions to install git.
  3. Now type:
    git clone git://
  4. If you do not have patch installed, you will need to install patch. On an Ubuntu system type:
    sudo apt-get install patch
  5. If you do not have java installed, do so. To install java, choose ( Applications > Ubuntu Software Center ) and type java 6 runtime in search - it is easiest to search for java to find it - then follow the on screen instructions. It should be pretty simple.
  6. Download and install the Palm Novacom software from Download the version for Ubuntu here and install it. (If you choose to install the full SDK instead, and are running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 9.x you will have difficulty installing the SDK and the instructions on the download site are wrong. Read this thread and this post for help.)
  7. Open a terminal and navigate to the meta-doctor directory where the meta-doctor was copied to in step 3 above. For example:
    cd meta-doctor
  8. Ensure that there is a downloads directory. If there is not one, create one using
    mkdir downloads

Mac OS X 10.6

  1. Install MacPorts first, which will allow us to easily install the necessary packages for MetaDoctor. [1]. Please note that MacPorts requires Apple's Xcode Developer Tools (version 3.2.1 or later for Snow Leopard, 3.1.4 or later for Leopard, or 2.5 for Tiger), found at the Apple Developer Connection site or on your Mac OS X installation CDs/DVD.
  2. Install md5sum:
    sudo port install md5sha1sum
  3. Install gnutar:
    sudo port install gnutar
  4. Install git:
    sudo port install git-core
  5. Install wget:
    sudo port install wget
  6. Now type:
    git clone git://
  7. Install patch:
    sudo port install gpatch
  8. If you do not have Java installed, do so. To install Java, click on the "Apple" icon and select "Software Update." This will automatically update you to the latest version of Java if necessary, as Apple supplies their own version of Java. Further instructions can be found here.
  9. Download and install the Palm Novacom software from The Mac OS X SDK is located here.
  10. Open a terminal and navigate to the meta-doctor directory where the meta-doctor was copied to in step 6 above.
    cd meta-doctor
  11. Ensure that there is a downloads directory. If there is not one, create one using
    mkdir downloads

Using a Virtual Machine

Note that some people have trouble connecting to their device over USB from a virtual machine. If you experience this problem in VirtualBox, make sure you have the VM extension pack (PUEL) from the VirtualBox download page here.

If you do not have a Linux system, you will need to run the meta-doctor in a virtual machine. For windows users there are two options. For Mac users, follow option 1.

Running in VMware or VirtualBox

  1. Download Ubuntu.
  2. Download a virtual machine program, either vmware or virtualbox. A virtual machine is simply a program that allows you to piggyback a second operating system on top of your native OS without dual booting or actually having a Linux machine.
    I ended up using VirtualBox instead, because I found the VMware to be very confusing on what to actually download. The Virtual box website is very simple and straight forward. Here is a link for the virtualbox download for Windows: VirtualBox-3.0.10-54097-Win
  3. Now install virtualbox just like you would install any other application, nothing fancy here.
  4. Start up virtualbox and follow either of these instructions to install Ubuntu

Using WUBI

Windows users have another option to avoid using a virtual machine. They can use the meta doctor without harming your current installation of windows using simple Ubuntu installer called WUBI. Also no need for moding any partitions or installing any boot loaders. It will just appear as program in your installed software list and when you do not want it anymore simply uninstall it while in windows through Control Panel. It is easy and there is no virtual machine headaches of trying to configure USB, Network and File sharing with host computer... To access it you just reboot and choose Ubuntu from dual boot screen.

  1. download Ubuntu 10.10
  2. burn that file to a cd or mount to virtual drive
  3. Run cd in windows (the wubi.exe file inside the disk, it also comes up in auto run)
  4. Click on Install Inside windows.
    This will install Ubuntu while running Windows without the need of making a partition I would recomand making the install image the full recommended 30 gigs if you have the hard drive space and think you are interested in actually using the Ubuntu OS, otherwise the minimum recommended by Wubi should be just fine.
  5. Restart your computer and you can dual boot to Windows or Ubuntu

The nice thing about this is that it will allow you to uninstall Ubuntu right from Windows as if it was never there and remove the dual boot, not to mention the fact you do not need to partition your drive.

If you are still wondering what Wubi is the fallowing link should explain it to you better. Wubi Guide

Note: this will only work with the cd image found at the Ubuntu Download link. The dvd image of 9.04/9.10 is a live cd/installer and does not have the option to install inside windows using Wubi

Step 2: Running the webOS Doctor

Note that if you are following a procedure on another wiki page which only requires the installation of the MetaDoctor and then tells you to return to that other page, then this is the place at which you should return.

If you intend to enable WIFI Profiles, you must copy a file off of the phone before doctoring. See the section below on enabling wifi profiles.

  1. Navigate to the meta-doctor directory in the terminal
  2. Download the latest webosdoctor file using the download paths found at Webos Doctor Versions .The wr version is the French,German,Irish,Spanish and UK GSM version. An example (i.e. will not work, you need to look for the latest URL) download command would be:
    cd downloads
  3. Rename the file that you download to include the version number for future reference (examples: webosdoctorp100ewwsprint-, webosdoctorp100eww-wr-1.1.3.jar, or webosdoctorp100ewwbellmo-1.2.1.jar). An example (i.e. will not work, you need to work out the filename based on the URL you used to download it) command to do that would be:
    mv webosdoctorp100ewwbellmo.jar webosdoctorp100ewwbellmo-
  4. If you would like Meta-Doctor to apply patches to webOS in order to add or change functionality from the factory install, open the Makefile with your favorite text editor and uncomment (remove the leading # characters from) the options you would like to use.
  5. Before doing the next step, make sure you change back into the meta-doctor directory first. All the following commands must be run from the meta-doctor directory.
  6. Type one of the following:
    make DEVICE=pre all-wr
    make DEVICE=preplus all-wr
    make DEVICE=pixiplus all-wr
    make DEVICE=pre all-sprint
    make DEVICE=pixi all-sprint
    make DEVICE=pre all-bellmo
    make DEVICE=pre all-telcel
    make DEVICE=preplus all-verizonwireless
    make DEVICE=pixiplus all-verizonwireless
    make DEVICE=preplus all-att
    make DEVICE=pixiplus all-att
    depending on the carrier in question.

Note : use make DEVICE=palm_smartphone_type all-wr for O2 Germany, UK and Ireland / Movistar Spain / SFR France

This should begin a process within the terminal that should take 10 minutes max.

Error conditions

If an error message appears with unknown in a file name, check the file rename in step 8 above.

If the build fails

If the make command fails, you can use

make clobber

to clean up the build directory. After this you can re-run the command.

The updated doctor version has the same name as the original, but is in a new folder: meta-doctor/build/pre-p100eww-sprint-

If you are running in Ubuntu or Cygwin, you can just run the new jar file now.

If you are running Ubuntu using VM, you will need to copy the new jar out of the VM into your live desktop to run the jar in your native OS.

CD to the folder where your new jar file is, and type something like:

java -jar webosdoctorp100ewwsprint-

If you were using a VM or some other virtual method, you will need to copy the jar file out to your main operating system before running it.

Windows host:

VirtualBox folder Sharing

VMWare folder Sharing

Mac OSX host:

VirtualBox folder Sharing

NOTE: this only applies to WUBI Users

You should be able to run the JAR as if you had Linux installed natively because in a sense you do (as long as Java is installed and you run the Jar using Java) but if you rather run it in windows

Using terminal the following command in a Wubi installation of Ubuntu will copy the JAR file to the host Windows OS :

cp /meta-doctor/build/pre-p100eww-sprint-1.2.1/webosdoctorp100ewwsprint-1.2.1.jar /host/webosdoctorp100ewwsprint-1.2.1.jar

This will place the Jar either in your Windows C:\ drive or whatever drive you installed Wubi to.

Once the Doctor is running

  1. Select your language
  2. Accept the license agreement
  3. Connect your Pre to your PC via USB and select "Next" when it becomes available

After completion the device will reboot and present you with the activation set-up.

If your PC does not recognize your Pre and you cannot go past step 3 above, try the following steps:

  1. With the USB cable connected, completely power off the Pre (hold down the power button until the option to power off appears)
  2. Hold down the Up button on the volume rocker
  3. While holding the Up button, power on the Pre
  4. "Next" should now be enabled - proceed with the recovery

The above steps will put the Pre into bootloader recovery mode and should allow the PC to recognize your device and proceed with the restore. In this mode the screen will display a giant USB logo instead of the usual Palm startup logo.

When the process finishes, the Pre will reboot and your new modified image will have been installed.

After the doctor completes, you will need to run the "First Run" application. To do this, you will need an active internet connection. Either WiFi or Cellular. If you do not have WiFi and cannot connect to the Palm Profile servers, you might have a problem with your programming. This Meta Doctor (or webOS Doctor in general) could possibly erase the modem's programming. To resolve you will need to perform the following steps:

Note: This has only been confirmed to resolve Sprint CDMA issues, YMMV.

Note 2: You should try to update your profile first. Open the phone app, open the App Menu and select Preferences then select Update Network Settings. If you get an error, then procede with these instructions.

  • 1. Open the Phone App.
  • 2. Enter ##MSL# (MSL= 6 digit lock code. Get this from Sprint.)
  • 3. Verify your MDN and MSID are incorrect. If they are incorrect, continue. If they are correct, this is not your problem and you should not continue.
  • 4. Select Edit.
  • 5. Select the first box (MDN) and enter your 10-digit cellular number.
  • 6. Select the second box (MSID) and enter your 10-digit MSID (Get this from Sprint).
  • 7. Select Save.
  • 8. Backswipe out of the the view.
  • 9. You should now be able to open complete Note 2 above without any errors.

You should now be able to run the First Use application without any problems.

If the Doctor will not run

Go here if you have further problems connecting your Pre to the running Meta'ed Doctor.


Clarification for Linux beginners on where to place the file, per instructions in the makefile. Steps: 1. Open makefile using a text editor (like WordPad) and use the instructions there to retrieve your file from your device. Save it somewhere convenient on your host machine (aka, computer). 2. Navigate to the meta-doctor directory and create the config directory: mkdir -p config 3. Rename your file to 4. Put in the config directory. 5. Continue following instructions in the makefile.

How to enable WIFI profiles

To enable wifi profiles it is necessary to copy your wifi profile file off of your phone and place this in a directory, as well as enable the wifi profile option in the makefile.

  1. Move to the meta-doctor directory (cd meta-doctor)
  2. Create a "config" folder in the meta-doctor directory (mkdir config)
  3. Copy the file off of your phone from the var/preferences/com.palm.wifi/ and into the "config" directory that you just created.
  4. Rename this file "" without the quotes
  5. Open the makefile (which is in the meta-doctor directory) and remove the "#" from the line "# INSTALL_WIFI_PROFILES = 1". Save the makefile.
  6. Build the custom doctor by running the script, or otherwise building it.

On launch of the new doctor your wifi profile should automatically connect, but only if you had previously connected to the WIFI network you are trying to use.

See these links for more information: Post 1, Post 2.

How to change a provider's DB-entry so 3G data can be used on the Pre

This post and this thread describe various ways to adjust the provider's data base in the Pre, so the 3G datacom works on non-supported networks. webOS 1.3.1 allows setting of the providers data directly from the activation screen for providers that are present in the DB. Some report that they are not able to do that and that they cannot get 3G datacom working on 1.3.1

Problems with Novacom

If you are Running a new Distro, like Archlinux, you could run into problem with novacom while trying to connect your pre. Running novacomd on the command line could provide further information. This may be a problem with libusb. Get a older version like described in this thread.

How to Install webOS 2.x on "unoffical" Devices

With the release of the O2-DE webOS Doctor, efforts have been made to apply the techniques of MetaDoctor and create a custom doctor to apply 2.1.0 to devices that it was not been officially released for. For those not faint of heart, a step-by-step can be found at the following: WebOS 2 Upgrade

Cygwin Note (unconfirmed)

Do not do this unless you experience the problem it is said to solve.

I used a WinXP box with cygwin and everything worked fine, except I had to add the switch --no-same-owner in line 802 of the Makefile. That's because I'm as root in cygwin and without this switch the tar-command failed.


  mkdir -p build/${PATIENT}/webOS
  ${TAR} --no-same-owner -C build/${PATIENT}/webOS \
     -f build/${PATIENT}/resources/webOS.tar \
     -x ./${CUSTIMAGEOLD}.rootfs.tar.gz ./${INSTIMAGEOLD}.uImage ./${BOOTLOADEROLD}.bin ./${CODENAMEOLD}.xml ./installer.xml